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For Immediate Release

Date: 12/22/10

Rep. Jim Parker appointed to 'Red Tape' Committee

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Jim Parker has been named to a new, 15-member select committee created to study Maine's regulatory system and propose changes to help improve the state's business environment.

The panel, formally named the Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform, will work in concert with Governor-elect Paul LePage to draft legislation and bring their proposals before the Legislature.

Rep. Parker (R-Veazie), a first-term legislator, has extensive experience in dealing with state regulators as a business owner and from his leadership positions with several economic development agencies. Trained as an environmental engineer at the University of Maine at Orono, he is the founder and CEO of CES Inc., an environmental consulting business with 65 employees and five offices around the state.

Rep. Parker has served on and chaired the Sunrise County Economic Council, the Washington County Development Authority and the Greater Bangor Area Target Development Corp.

"All these entities worked to develop jobs," he said. "In my business I have worked with many businesses, helping them maneuver through the permitting and licensing maze. It's generally not the regulations themselves that are unreasonable. The bigger problem is the process, which is poorly defined, subject to personal and varied interpretation and most often far too time-consuming. That leads to delays, which lead to lost business opportunities."

The Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform will be co-chaired by State Rep. Jonathan McKane (R-Newcastle), an electrician now in his fourth term in the Maine House. He said the effort to root out damaging regulations and streamline procedures is "a great opportunity to shift power away from the bureaucracy and put the people and businesses of this state back in charge.

"Some regulations are rational and serve a purpose, but too many are counterproductive," he said. "We should apply a cost-benefit analysis and determine the changes that make sense. As an independent electrical contractor, I work with other contractors and small businesses on a daily basis. I have been listening to stories about heavy-handed bureaucracy for years. More often than not, the problem is not the actual law but the interpretation and overzealous rulemaking by regulators. The enforcement that follows can spell doom to a small business. The regulatory excess is blocking job growth and contributing to Maine's economic torpor."

The committee's approach to its work is still under discussion, but the panel is expected to hold public hearings outside Augusta at perhaps five or six sites around the state.

The Senate co-chair is Sen. Jon Courtney (R-York County), recently elected as the Senate Majority Leader. Nine Republicans and six Democrats have been appointed to the committee by House Speaker Robert Nutting and Senate President Kevin Raye.

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Contact:
Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445